While Leonardo Da Vinci is best known for his famous paintings, he was also one of history’s most prolific inventors. One of his most famous quotes is “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.”
In a digital age filled with complex gadgets and complex software to drive those gadgets, is there still a place for simplicity? Take the case of a small business owner or sales rep managing the sales process from start to finish.
It all begins with leads. You see something in the business pages or pick up something interesting about a company at a party and you think to yourself they could really use my products and services. How do you keep track of your “hot leads?” Scribbling notes on the back of an envelope is certainly simple, but not likely to work very well in the long run.
You can find sophisticated sales management software from places like industry leader salesforce.com. The costs of programs like these need to be measured not just in dollars and cents, but also in time and stress. While there are some free programs available, the ease of setting up the program is often more than meets the eye. Learning to use some of these offerings can be difficult even for the tech savvy user. For the technologically challenged, the learning process can be intimidating.
While the back of the envelope approach more often than not results in frustration and lost leads, there are still tried and true mechanical methods available for managing the customer generation process. There is one tool simple to use while still robust enough to get the job done without an investment of time and effort to learn how to use the tool, It is called the Sales Funnel; a graphic representation of four stages in the process:
Using this tool couldn’t be simpler. You can email us for a PDF copy of the Sales Funnel that you can take to your local office supply outlet where they can create a laminated copy in whatever size best fits your work space.
You can record your hot leads in erasable marker or with a post-it note. The post-it notes have obvious advantages if you use them with sticky dots so you don’t find them falling off too easily. When a hot lead yields a real opportunity, you simply move the note down the funnel. When an opportunity moves to the proposal/quote stage; the note moves with it. What could be simpler?
If your prospecting base warrants it, you could use multiple funnels, with separate funnels for geographic location and industrial classification. Post-it notes allow you to record as much or as little information about your prospect as you need, as the notes easily stick to each other.
When you think about where your energy should fall, always look at your sales funnel from the bottom up. More often then not, once we obtain a client, we are on the the next one instead of realizing great customer service for those new customers can produce not only new hot leads but also new quotes with those same customers. Warm leads are always better then a cold one. Make funnel notes in the new customer section with appropriate dates for follow-up.
If you feel your needs would be better met with CRM software (Customer Relationship Management), you still might want to give the Sales Funnel a test while you are researching the wonderful world of available CRM software programs.
Your favorite Internet Search Engine will yield lists of top programs for purchase as well as free offerings. Take the time you need to investigate programs thoroughly for ease of installation and use. As you do your research, remember to think like DaVinci. Even in powerful computer software, simplicity is still the ultimate sophistication.